With hunting and field trialing season upon us, now is the perfect time for the next installment of our flea and tick blog series to get you most of the information you need to know about treating for and protecting your dogs against these pesky infestations. When treating for fleas and ticks, there are a few ways to administer the treatment. Treatment types range from shampoos, collars, medallions, topical, and oral treatments. In this article, we are going to discuss flea and tick collar treatment, how it works, and how it compares to other types of flea and tick treatments.
What is a flea and tick collar?
Flea and tick collars are a type of flea and tick preventive treatment, most similar to topical treatments. Unlike topical treatments that are a one-dose protection for 30 days, flea and tick collars are left on for up to 8 months, depending on the brand. This provides a single-purchase protection and a single-treatment option that is very user friendly. With flea and tick collars, you don’t have to mark your calendars and remember any monthly treatments.
Flea and tick collars work similarly to how topical flea and tick treatments work in that they both directly administer the active ingredients onto the dog’s fur. Thus, allowing the sebaceous glands to spread them throughout the dog’s coats. The sebaceous glands, found in the skin of most mammals, are responsible for lubricating the dog’s fur coat with sebum (skin oil). When the active ingredients are in the sebaceous glands, they are passed over the entire coat of the dog via these oils. But unlike topical treatments that are dosed all at one time, flea and tick collars slowly release these active ingredients over time.
How does a flea and tick collar work against fleas and ticks?
Once the ingredients from the flea and tick collar are spread throughout the dog’s coat via the sebaceous glands, the active ingredients work as a pesticide that attacks the flea’s and/or tick’s nervous system. This causes these parasitic pests to lose the ability to feed, resulting in death. Flea and tick collars can have one or more of the following active ingredients: Deltamethrin, Amitraz, Pyripoxifen, and Propoxur. Deltamethrin is considered one of the more “safe” insecticides and is a synthetic Pyrethroid derivative of Pyrethrun. Amitraz is a common Preventic that is a very effective anti-parasitic drug. Pryriproxifen is used to target flea eggs and larvae, essentially sterilizing the pests. Propoxur is also a common Preventic that quickly targets the nervous system of fleas and ticks; unfortunately, it’s also highly toxic to humans.
What ingredients are in some of the common flea and tick collars carried by Lion Country Supply? Taking a look at the Salvo Flea and Tick collar shows that its main active ingredient is Deltamethrin, making it one of the more safe flea and tick collars. Seresto Flea and Tick collars, on the other hand, use a different set of ingredients, Imidacloprid and Flumethrin, to both actively attack flea and ticks that are on your dog, as well as repel flea and ticks from ever getting onto your dog.
How do flea and tick collars compare to other flea and tick treatments?
One of the biggest advantages to using flea and tick collars compared to other forms of flea and tick treatments is the length of effective protection. Flea and tick collars can protect your dog for up 6 to 8 months, depending on the brand of collar. Topical and oral flea and tick treatments only protect for 30 days.
With flea and tick collars slowly releasing the active ingredients over time, this can be both an advantage and disadvantage over other flea and tick treatment methods. With topical and oral treatments, you are giving the dog an entire month’s worth of active ingredients at one time. This ensures total protection within a few hours, depending on the brand you’ve selected to choose for treatment. Flea and tick collars slowly release the active ingredients, which could mean it taking 24-48 hours before total protection, also depending on brand. Because topical and oral treatments are giving all in one go, they will begin losing their effectiveness towards the end of the 30-day mark, whereas flea and tick collars will continue slowly releasing the active ingredients throughout their 6–8-month period.
One of the biggest downsides to flea and tick collars is that the active ingredients of most collars are harmful to humans. With the collar being exposed on the dog’s neck for 6-8 months, that is a lot of possibilities for humans to come in contact with the collar, potentially getting it on your hands, passing the active ingredients into your mouth, nose, and/or eyes.
Another downside to flea and tick collars is their lack of waterproofing. Most brands claim to be “water-resistant,” but any exposure to water will reduce the effectiveness and shorten the lifespan of the collar. With topical treatment, you need to restrict your dog’s water exposure for the first 24 hours after applying the treatment. Once that the treatment is in the sebaceous gland, it is considered completely waterproof. Likewise, oral treatment, due to the nature of it being ingested, there is never a period of non-waterproof.
Tips for using flea and tick collars:
Tip 1: Make sure the collar is adjusted to the proper fit.
It is important to make sure that the flea and tick collar is properly adjusted on the dog’s neck. If the collar is too loose, the active ingredients will not be able to transfer to the oils of the dog’s coat effectively; therefore, limiting the flea and tick protection effectiveness of the collar. Having the collar too tight to the neck may restrict the dog’s air ways or irritate the dog’s skin, causing the dog to dig and scratch at the area.
Tip 2: Trim off any extra collar length.
After adjusting the collar, you should cut any extra length of the collar off. We advise to leave an inch or two of length for adjustments if needed. This is especially crucial when using a flea and tick collar on a dog that is still growing. Trimming excess length will ensure that it isn’t flapping around, irritating the dog to the point that it could possibly get ahold of the extra length. This could result in the dog chewing on and swallowing bits of the collar. This could lead to overdosing of the active ingredients, potentially resulting in serious health issues.
Tip 3: Do not use on dogs that will be sleeping with humans.
We recommend not using flea and tick collars on your dogs if your dogs will be or frequently lay in bed or on the couch with humans. The active ingredients of the flea and tick collars can be harmful to humans and you should limit your expose to the flea and tick collar as much as possible. Anytime you come in contact with the flea and tick collar, it is important to thoroughly wash your hands or any exposed areas.
Tip 4: Be careful if you have cats.
Even though manufactures make flea and tick collars for cats, be sure to limit a cat’s exposure to the dog version of flea and tick collars. Cats are sensitive to some of the active ingredients that are in the dog version of the flea and tick collars. It is vital to never use a flea and tick collar that contains Permethrin around a cat, as it can kill them. Keep this in mind if you have dogs and cats that interact with each other frequently.
Tip 5: Limit water exposure to a dog wearing a flea and tick collar.
If your dog is wearing a flea and tick collar, you must restrict exposure to water. Exposure to water can greatly shorten the length of effectiveness. If you are planning on having your dog in water, you can take the collar off the dog and then put it back on once the dog is dry. Though, you should limit your handling of the flea and tick collar and should always thoroughly wash your hands after coming in contact with them.
Flea and Tick Collars Available at Lion Country Supply:
Lion Country Supply currently carries two different brands of flea and tick collars. The Seresto Flea and Tick Collar provides 8 months of protection using a single collar and is available in a small dog and large dog option. The small dog version fits neck sizes up to 14 inches and the large version fits neck sizes up to 22 inches. The Salvo Flea and Tick Collar provides 12 months of protection using two collars that provide 6 months of protection each. Salvo collars also come in a small dog and large dog option with the small dog fitting 14 inch necks and the large dog fitting 22 inch necks.
As with most products, there is never a perfect solution for treating flea and tick infestations and protecting your dog from future exposure. Having your dog vaccinated for Lyme disease using a LymeVax or a combo vaccine like the 9-Way Vaccine with Lyme is a great way to protect against Lyme disease, but fleas and ticks carry several other diseases that only prevention can protect from. If you want several months of protection that is easy to use, flea and tick collars are a great option. However, if you frequently sleep with or come in contact with your dogs, or your dogs are frequently in water, we would recommend going with a topical or oral treatment.
If you have any questions about flea and tick treatment, contact our customer service to discuss our product selection. For health questions related to flea and ticks or flea and tick treatment, we recommend talking with your veterinarian.
Thank you for reading!
By: Michael Cassatt, LCS Director of Marketing
Looking for more information on flea and ticks? Check out our following blog articles: